Specialist foam tool case inserts for a multinational aeronautical manufacturer

Client: Multinational aeronautical manufacturer
Project: Custom designed specialist tool case inserts for handheld and drawer tool boxes; Migrating supply of foam and rubber to a domestic supplier
Client Benefits:Improved tool organisation and control by introducing visual management foam techniques; greater protection when storing specialist one-off tooling; greater flexibility in supply chain; shorter lead time; local supplier and account manager
Materials Used:Low density polyethylene foam (LDPE), solid rubber


Our multinational aeronautical customer has a considerable, interlinked manufacturing presence across the UK, USA, Europe and Asia. Specialist tools are frequently shipped in and amongst these factories, and require custom manufactured foam to protect the tooling whilst in the factory and in-transit.

For the UK team, sourcing protective foam was previously completed by a long-standing European supplier, but had kept proving to be a lengthy and convoluted process, and because of this, vital and delicate tools were often left exposed, prone to damage and without suitable storage.

The Project

A particularly fragile tool had been shipped direct into the factory, and quickly needed protective case foam inserts. The customer was prompted to source a closed cell, polyethylene foam to protect the tool, however, their European supplier’s lead time was too long. Rubbarite was approached, and then engaged, to design and supply the custom case foam insert, as soon as possible, to minimise the time the delicate tool was left exposed.

Rubbarite visited the site to discuss the project and how our process will run, and showcase the most suitable range of polyethylene foams. Rubbarite also introduced the customer to the benefits of foam as a visual management “shadow boarding” technique. The customer was suitably impressed and ordered visual management foams to be used across their range of commonly used tools, at various station points within the factory.

All of the inserts were made using a closed cell polyethylene with an anthracite, high-density polyethylene foam shadow board in a range of coordinated colours. Production was completed in a four-stage process:

Our Value

Rubbarite was able to fully service the customer’s requirements, from tool measurements and custom case CAD design to primary and secondary foam conversion, and supply. This allowed the customer to receive high quality fitted protective foam, a shortened lead time, and reduced supplier costs.

The client also gained value from viewing an extensive range of technical materials to choose from. They ultimately chose a foam with a superior performance and longevity. Furthermore, with regular site-visits and frequent communication, the time taken for full conversion from raw material to a final product was more than halved, greatly limiting the time the fragile tool was exposed.

Additionally, during a particular site visit, Rubbarite became aware of the customer’s high usage and stockpiling of a multi-purpose solid commercial rubber sheet rolls that were being used a work surface cover, and so Rubbarite introduced the customer to a highly durable and versatile rubber that helped reduce the stockpile to a minimum.

Find Out More

If you’d like to find our more on this project or other projects, please contact us by calling 0151 298 1038, or via email at
Value of Shadow Boarding for Foam Case Inserts | Rubbarite News